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Some Political Truths

Some Political Truths image
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II. Descartes, doclaring that the sovereignty of God and the troedom of man were utterly irreconoilable, was severoly rebuked by Leionitz for hi presuunption and arrogance, because he was unable to see that they were otherwise. Uuhappüy for the world, as every one knows, this did not forever blast the presurnption of men, and perhaps Liebnitz himself sometimes tound it a little easier to preach than to praotice this charity of opinión. But, however this may be, the sad faot ooraforts us still that this doginatism of opinión continuos to fill the .world with unfriendly bickerings, and is the souroe of enmity and strife. Nowhere does it manifest itself quite so unpleasantly as in the domain of politics, and nowhere else is it quita so offensive. If truth must be told, we must confess that in niuetynine cases out of a hundred the extreme of doginatisra, whioh oonstitutes one a bigot, is begoiten of ignoranue. We are sorry to say that a good many of our Bepublican friouds, who charge the Demócrata with all sorts of terrible crimes, are slightly affected with a tinge of political bigotry, and are possessed of a vast ainount of political raisiuformation, which we propose to point out to them. Slavery : In the tirBt place we are told that the Democratie party defended slavery, sustaiued it by all the means in its power, and that no confidence s to be placed in any party that sustained a Dred Scott decisión, ftirming that " a black man to hare no rights which a white man is bound to respect." This is a terrible charge to bring against a great party which for almost sixty years uninterruptedly ruled the country, having among its members some of the greatest minds that ever graced the nation's history. Let us examine then into this indictinent. The leading political parties opposed to the Democratie party have been the Federalist, the Whig, the American, and the Bepublican. By none of these, exoept the latter, was the party confronted upon the eingle issue of slavery But in 1854 the Ropublican party was formed with the expresa design of fighting slavery. Now, as the political communities of the United States are divided into States and into Territorios, and as the Constitutioa has made distinction in the powers granted to the nation, distinguishing between the power which the government has over a State and ovor a Territory, the question of slavery was two fold in its nature. It related fiist to the States, aud secondly to the Territories. And first, as to the States, no political party ever formed throughout our vast expanse of territory, claiined for one moment that the national authorities could, uudor our coustitution of governmeut and in time of peace, abolish or even interfere with slavery in any State of the Union. The Republican party never clainibd such a power. Why not ? Was not slavery as great a moral evil in a State as in a Territory ? wüibniuij. xuou vtuy uut culi On (116 government to abolish it in the States? For the very reasou that it was not a question of conscience, not a question of moral guilt or natural injustice, not even strictly a political question, but rather a judicial one, one entirely oonstitutional in its character ; and every one knew that under the Censtitution it was utterly impossible to abolish slavery in the States. And for this very reason Messrs. Lincoln, Seward, Chase, Wade, Adams, and the other leaders of the Republican party, actually placed themselves on record as willing to adopt a new oonstitutional amondinent to the effect that the natioual governmeut should never abolish slavery in the States. Bear in miud that it was not at all a question of conscience, but a question of law, as far as the States were concerned. In tho next place we come to consid er the question of slavery in the Territories. The Republican party said slavery shall not go into the Territories, because slavery is wrong, and under the Constitution we have power to keep it out. The Democratio party said that whether slavery was right or wrong was not the question in dispute ; and it was no more a question of conscionce in connection with the Territories than it was in connection with the States; that iu both cases it was equally a judicial question, a question of constitutional law ; and that as glavery was solcly in the hands of the people of a State to créate or abolish, so the people of a Territory should say whether they would have slavery or not ; that the con8titutioual authority of our government was that the general government had control only of general matters ; that we rebelled from England, not because she sought to control us in our general affairs, but in those which were local ; that tüe principie of self-governinent was the cause of the revolution of '76, and the theory of our inatitutions ; that the Territorios had been ceded to the government by the slave-holding States for the common benefit, and to say that slavo-holder could not take slave-property into these territories, was a violation of good faith. Now in all this the Democratie party raay have been wrong. It may have misinterpreted the Constitution of the United States. If so, some the greatest intellects the country ever produced wre wrong, some of the purestminded and whitest-souled men in church or State were all wrong. If the party has ooverod itself with obloquy thereby, theu ïnney and Webstor and Choat and Clay, the greatest legal luminarias oí their times, have gone down ia obloquy to their graves ; then ministers at their altare and bishops in their robes have gone down to death with black stains of moral guilt reuting upon their souls. Now one thing moro, and that is tho Dred Scott decisión. For ton years and more Chief Justice Tuney has lain in his grave. For the same length of time slavory has ceased to be a practical question in American politics. The vile slander and misrepresentation of a pure and learned man hiive done their work, and placed the Republican party in powor. Perhaps now, when the smoke of the battle has cleared away, when the party advantage has been won by one of the most wicked slandera ever invented, Repubticang themselves will be willing to do justice to the truth of history, and the spotloss character of a great and good man. By a decisión of six to two tho most eminent lawyer of the country, sitting ninlcr the solemnity of their onths upon the bench of the Supreme Court of the United States, gave an interpretation of the Constitution which was contrary to the principies for which the Republioau party contended on the subject of ' slavery. To have allowed tho question to stand as settlod by the body which the (Jonstitution had created for the purpose of deciding flnally all such questions of oonstitutional luw, would of course havo beeu fatal to the Republican party. They therefora undertook to break down the cuurt by misreprescntation, and to blacken and defame the character of the men who composed it. To tlu.s end they declarod that the Chief-Justice had asserted that " a negro had no lig hts which a white uian was bound so respect," knowing that such an infatnous opinión would disgust all fair-ininded men and destroy the foroe of the decisión. Probably to this day a majority of the peoplo of this country tliink that such a decisión was pronouuced. The truth is that it was a wicked and raalicious slauder, set afloat by despicable men to poison public opinión, and to stil up the augry passions of the ignorant. What the ('hiel ' .lustici' did say may be geen froin what follows, and we have only to add the woids of President Jackson, when he saiil, " A slauderer is worse than a murderer," to express the contempt of every decent man for the villainous misrepresentation resorted to for party ends. Chief-Justice Tauey said : " It is diffioult, at this day, to realize the state of publio opinión ia relation to that unfortunate race, which prevailed in the civilized aud enlightened portions of the world at the time of the JDeclaration of Independenoe, and when the Constitutiou of the Unitod States was framed and adoptad. But the public history of every European nátion displays it in a manner too plain to be mistaken. They had for more than a ceutury before been regarded as being of an inferior order, and altogether as unfit to associate with the white race, either in Bocial oi political relations, and so far inferior that they had uo rigbts which the white man was bound to respect, and that the negro might justly and lawfully be reduced to slavery tor bis benefit. This opinión was at that time fixed and universal in the civilized portion of the white race. And in no uation was this opinión more firmly fixed or more uniforuily ttcted upon than by the Kuglish Government and English people. The opinión thus entertained and acted upon in England was naturally impressed uponthe colonies they founded on this sida of the Atlantic. We refer to these historical facts for the purpose of showing the fixed opinions ooucerning the race upon which statesmen ot that day spoke and acted." - 19 Howard, 407. PUBLICUS. In spite of its partisan opposition to the electoral count bill the editorial head of the New York Tribune is still leyel regarding President Grant's wonderful oapacity at mischiei' makiug in his crooked appoiutments. It saya of Jus tice Davis, in case he should decide to aocept the Illinois Senaturship that his duty is plain to withhold his resignation until the danger of the vacancy bning filled by appointment of President Grant shall have pa86ed away with the expiration of his term of office. It then adds these pregnant words : "Ho citizen who regards with anything of respect or pride the higheet court in the nation, aud who reniembors the noininations of Caleb Cushing and General Williams when the office of Chief-Justice feil vacant can contémplate the poseibility of President Grant's making another appointto the supreme bench without a shudder. Justice Davis would bi doing the court.the country, and the PresidenthimJ eelt' great injustice if he should resign hit !■!■ i ■ .f. , viin uiu njtivn il zo De filled by appointment froin President Grant." To which we eay amen. The resignation of Judge Davis before noon of the 4th of March would only make way for Gen. Logan, or some other equally destinguished jurist (in Grant's estimation). On Fbiday last Senator Perrin, of the sixteenth district (Clinton and Ingham), introduced his joint resolution (every Senator and Representativa will have one) amending the Constitution of the State. Seotion fifteen of article XVIII is the one the Senator has a laudable desire to inake his mark upon. It is the seetion that prohibits a revisión of the laws, but provides instead for a oonipilation when a reprint shall become neceS8ary. We might be induced to favor the aniciidiuunt, if our support is necessary, and the revisión we pres sume it looks to, provided there shall be incorporated in the section a prohibition of legislativo amendinent until say ten years after the revisión takeeífüct. Defectivo statutes, or statutes soiue legielative tinker imagines defective, can better be endurod than the wholesale changos made at every sossion. In the Senate, 21 Rpublicns and 26 Demócrata voted for the Electoral count bill, and 16 Republicana and 1 Democrat againat it. The vote in the House stood : for it, Demoorats, 159 ; Republioans, 32. Against it : Demócrata, 18 ; Republicana, 69. Absent or not voting. 8 Ropublican and 3 Democratie Senators, and 7 Republican and 7 Democratie members of the Ilouse.


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Michigan Argus